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Businesses

AP Will Sell You a "License" To Words It Doesn't Own 340

James Grimmelmann performed an experiment using the AP's form to request a license to use more than four consecutive words from one of their articles. Except that he didn't paste in words from the (randomly chosen) article, but instead used 26 words written by Thomas Jefferson 196 years ago: If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea. The AP cheerfully charged him $12 to use Jefferson's 26 words. Both Boing Boing and TechDirt have picked up the story so far. Grimmelmann adds an update to his blog: the AP has rescinded his license to Jefferson's words and issued a refund for his $12. They did not exhibit the grace to admit that their software is brain-dead.
Microsoft

The Hidden Cost of Using Microsoft Software 691

Glyn Moody writes "Detractors of free software like to point out it's not really 'free,' and claim that its Total Cost of Ownership is often comparable with closed-source solutions if you take everything into account. And yet, despite their enthusiasm for including all the costs, they never include a very real extra that users of Microsoft's products frequently have to pay: the cost of cleaning up malware infections. For example, the UK city of Manchester has just paid out nearly $2.5 million to clean up the Conficker worm, most of which was 'a £1.2m [$2million] bill in the IT department, including £600,000 [$1 million] getting "consultancy support" to fix the problems, which including drafting in experts from Microsoft.' To make the comparisons fair, isn't it about time these often massive costs were included in TCO calculations?"

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